HAI workshops introduced me to among the first few lover experiences of my life. At the end of my level one a young woman asked me if we could be lovers on Sunday night. I agreed. It was awkward, physically and emotionally. On Monday she called me and wanted to know if I wanted to see her again. I felt terrible. I felt afraid of not knowing what to do next and also afraid of hurting her feelings. Her feelings were hurt. I felt terrible. We said goodbye. I felt as traumatized watching her abandonment pain as she seemed to feel.
Concern: HAI does a great job of teaching a safe-sex conversation. I liked it and have practiced it ever since. What's missing is a safe-emotional conversation. The culture does a strong job of objectifying sex, but the truth is that in a healthy human being sex is a mental, emotional and physical experience in equal parts. What's also true is that if we are to learn from the studies in "This Emotional Life" on PBS emotions and thoughts are as contagious as STD's.
I believe from the body language of this woman that she was traumatized by my rejection. She had communicated that this was one of her first lover experiences. I did not know the questions to ask at the time to make sure that this was a safe emotional and mental experience for her because there is no intake form at HAI or in the suggested sexual dialog. As a result, I have no idea whether she had a story that she was ugly and I reinforced that or if she had abandonment trauma that she was vulnerable to re-enacting? And unlike the American attitude of "that's not my problem," I care and want my partner's to feel good about their interactions with me. Is emotional disease as important as a physical disease? I think that if we are going to add the word "love" to a workshop it needs to include clear protocols for inexperienced sexual partners to engage in a way that is kind, informed and emotionally safe.